The Unitarian Universalist Society’s green building project was recognized with a 2019 Best Development Award from 1000 Friends of Iowa. Several members of the congregation were on hand to receive the award in the “new civic” category on January 22.
Award-winning projects exemplify considerate, sustainable connections between built structures, land, and natural resource development and quality of life. The full list of 13 award winners and their project descriptions are available on the 1000 Friends website.
In 2017, UUS constructed a new building in Coralville that was designed to be the “greenest church in Iowa.” The facility relies on solar panels for electricity and a geothermal system for heating and cooling, with an overall goal of being “net-zero” in terms of meeting all energy needs with renewable sources of power. The building design also incorporated many energy efficiency measures, sustainable materials, onsite stormwater handling, and thoughtful land use choices to minimize its impact on the environment.
“Our congregation was committed to building and enjoying a sustainable facility,” said Deb Schoelerman, chair of the congregation’s Green Sanctuary Committee. “We knew it would raise construction costs to include geothermal, a solar array, and other sustainable features, but we were committed to our seventh Unitarian Universalist principle: ‘respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.’ And we rose to the challenge.”
This is the second major award the green building project has received. In 2019, UUS earned a “Cool Congregations” award from Iowa Interfaith Power & Light.